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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Thursday, May 25, 2023
8:09 pm


This is the word that insisted on being the center of attention today. And this will be a short reflection on its virtue.

Yesterday was rough. As much as I like the Black Eyed Peas, it is still rather difficult to concentrate on writing software specs or a blog about choosing patio stone, say, when it is blasting in your ears loud enough to blot out the construction trucks.

I was a tad bit cranky.

Sometimes I wallow in it, because sometimes I’m allowed to be cranky and I don’t have to feel better or think positive thoughts. I can just be cranky.

But more often than not I try to find an alternative because crankiness tends to culminate in bread, and that is not always ideal.

When I woke up this morning I thought about an article I read once about pain management. It may have been during the episode with my back. Or maybe I just had a bug bite that itched, you can never tell.

The article said that you should focus on a part of your body that feels good. So basically, instead of thinking about how much your knees hurt from the stupid Tabata class, or how that bug bite is going to itch until you get a hair brush to deal with it, think about how comfortable your foot feels propped up on a soft pillow. Or how nice and toasty warm your skin feels against the soft blanket your mother knitted for you.

I mean, it works to some degree. Just divert your attention from Thing That Is Annoying to Thing That Is Not Annoying, with the caveat that Thing That Is Not Annoying should actually be something good.

It’s not about positive thinking. It’s about NOT thinking about the Annoying Thing.

So sometimes when the church bells start their ten minute electronic serenade, I put my brain on the sound of the birds chirping instead. Or the podcast playing in the background. Whatever is more pleasant, which when compared with church bells and beeping, is just about anything.

Instead of being mad about beeping, I could be grateful that I can hear.

Instead of wanting bread I could simply enjoy the bacon.

Like that.

Here is what I know: it’s not Friday. For some reason I thought it was, and proceeded through the day as such. I planned Friday dinner and anticipated Friday cocktails. I was ready for Friday relaxing until about 4:30 when I suddenly realized the week had snuck and extra day in there and my plans were thwarted.

Instead of lamenting a lack of Friday, I was pleased that I still had a whole Friday to look forward to. Sometimes Thursday is even better, because if it had actually been Friday, my day would be over. But now I have a whole Friday coming up.

It’s not a panacea, but coming up with an instead can be liberating. It means you don’t have to think about the Annoying Thing and can appreciate something else instead.

Word win.

Photo: When you have your own Annoying Thing, enjoy this picture of some windswept trees instead. They grew on the shoreline on top of a cliff at Point Reyes and it was so windy up there that they actually grew sideways. Instead of falling over, the just grew along with the wind.